Neuroimmune pharmacology as a sub-discipline of medical neuroscience in the medical school curriculum

Robert W. Freilich, Tsuneya Ikezu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The emerging field of neuroimmune pharmacology (NIP) is the confluence of three distinct disciplines: neuroscience, immunology, and pharmacology (Gendelman and Ikezu 2008). NIP was born from the realization that inflammation within the central nervous system (CNS) plays a crucial role in many neurological pathologies and as such offers a rich array of novel pharmacological targets as potential therapeutics. As this field is likely to have a major impact in medical science, educating future physicians on this area will help increase awareness and may potentially inspire them to pursue careers in the field of NIP. However, a key challenge for medical educators, is how best to incorporate new material on emerging fields, such as NIP, into the medical school curriculum, specifically in the context of a medical neuroscience course. We propose the addition of two 50-min lectures plus an additional optional 2-h lab module to the standard first year medical neuroscience class curriculum. Lecture 1 will focus on how the CNS and the immune system inter-communicate with one another with emphasis on neuroanatomical features and chemical signal transduction between the two systems. Lecture 2 provides an introduction to inflammation in the CNS and provides a series of clinical correlates to describe how CNS inflammation contributes to the disease process. The lab module provides detailed visual examples of how CNS inflammation influences disease processes and provides two examples of how application of an immunomodulatory pharmacological agent can modify disease processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-56
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Education
  • Medical school curriculum
  • Medical students
  • Neuroimmune pharmacology
  • Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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